Visiting the Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean is like vacationing in a aquarium. The water is so clear and vibrant with sea life you will never want to leave. You can snorkel right off the beach and see colorful fish, turtles, stingrays and toothless baby sharks. It’s a vacation you will never forget!!!
Out of the 40 cays (islands) that make up Turks and Caicos (TCI) only 8 are inhabited with most of the population living on Providenciales or Provo for short. Here you will find a mix of Canadian, American, British, Haitian and Dominicans living along side to the locals. The island is colonized by Britain but use the American currency and electricity of 110 volt / 60 cycle.
Wind: The windy season is typically between November and August. This is one of the longest windy seasons I’ve ever seen. The hot Caribbean wind means you will need to bring bigger kites. I would recommend a typical size male to bring a 12m/39ft and 17m/55ft to ensure you can ride everyday. A woman would be good with a 7m/22ft, 9m/29ft and 13m/42ft kite.
Kite Spots: Side-on shore or on-shore winds hit the miles of white sandy beach. You can walk out up to 2.5mi/4km in knee high (low tide) to neck high (high tide) warm, clear water greeting you to learn kiteboarding or to improve your skills. The ocean floor is free from any rocks, coral and sea life. It’s just white sand. It’s actually the safest place I’ve ever seen to learn or teach in. The launching area is not huge but there is plenty of room to run your lines. The area is still undeveloped so you will need to bring food and water with you for the day as well as arrange for transportation.
There are four kite schools on Long Bay open November until August making it one of the longer kite seasons anywhere in the world. Winds can fluctuate between 8 – 22 knots so if you’re a foil boarder, conditions are great, if your a freestyler, be prepared to bring a selection of kite sizes. If you need to rent equipment, schools have a large range of gear and they will drop off and pick up the equipment at your villa for you!
Stand up Paddleboarding (SUP): Mangrove cay is the perfect place to SUP no matter your skill level or age. A short paddle across the channel and you enter a protected shallow area where fish, turtles and lemon sharks breed. Narrow channels throughout the Mangroves give you access into this protected area where you can view the wildlife in a safe relaxed environment. White herons also nest in the area, so bird watching enthusiasts will also enjoy the tour. There are also many other shallow lagoons one can explore with or without a guide.
Diving / Free diving: The Turks and Caicos islands are made from pillars of land thrust up from the ocean floor to a height of 9842 ft/3000 m therefore making the diving spectacular on the walls. The coral is colorful and the wildlife is plentiful. It is an activity you can not miss whilst visiting the island. You will find many dive companies on the island.
Snorkeling: The great things about shallow warm clear water is you can snorkel right from the beach in a safe environment. One of the best areas is called Coral Gardens. There is a roped off area only feet from the beach with a protected reef you can swim around. You will typically see turtles, stingrays and plenty of color reef fish busily eating away.
Fishing: Due to the unique land formations of the TCI islands you can experience deep sea and bottom fishing 5000 ft/1524 m only minutes away from the marina. You can fish blue marlin, sailfish, tuna, mahi mahi, wahoo, snapper and more!
Transportation: Taxi’s can be pre-arranged or called but you will not find them readily on the street thus making renting a car the best option for getting around the island, especially to the kiteboarding spots. If you are staying in Grace Bay or Long Bay you can also rent a scooter from Paradise Scooters.
Accommodation: Hotels and villas can vary in price. The west side of the island is one resort after another but still feels quaint. There are only two all-inclusive resorts on the islands, Beaches being the biggest. You can also find many popular boutique hotels such as The Regent Palms and the Ocean Club. It’s best to book your accommodation as far in advance as possible as it is a small island and during high season (December to April) it can be booked up. If you are going for a kiteboarding holiday there are many villas on the south east end of the island where you can launch from your own private beach. Places such as Wind Haven are set up with a generator and self launching poll on the beach and equipment storage boxes.
Cuisine: TCI have a variety of restaurants to choose from, typical North American cuisine, Asian, Caribbean and Italian. Prices range between $12 – $25 plus beverages. Expect to spend an average of $40 – $60 a day on food. If you have a kitchen in your accommodation, be prepared that the grocery store can be equally as expensive. If you’re on a budget however you can find cheaper local Caribbean style restaurants downtown.